Background: Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a heterogeneous group of inherited ocular diseases that result in progressive retinal degeneration. This study aims to describe different Swept-source Optical Coherence Tomographic (SS-OCT) changes in Palestinian RP patients and to explore possible correlations with Visual Acuity (VA)
Methods: A cross-sectional observational study was conducted on Retinitis Pigmentosa patients diagnosed with RP in a tertiary eye hospital. Full history and ocular examination were made. SS-OCT imaging was done for all eyes assessing the presence of cystoid macular edema, epiretinal membrane, macular holes, and external limiting membrane, ellipsoid zone status. Also, central macular thickness and choroidal vascular thickness were measured.
Results: the study was run on 161 eyes of 81 patients; 53 males and 28 females. The average age at examination was 26.1 (6-78) years. Twenty-six eyes (16.1%) were of syndromic RP patients, mostly Usher syndrome; 20 eyes (12.4%). The mean Logaritmic minimal angle of resolution (LogMAR) of Best Corrected Visual Acuity (BCVA)of the study sample was 0.66 ±0.7. The most prevalent change was cystoid macular edema [28 eyes, (17.4 %)], followed by epiretinal membrane [17eye, (10.6%)]. A macular hole was noted only in one eye (0.6%). Ellipsoid zone and external limiting membrane were absent in 55 eyes (35.0%) and 60 eyes 37.5%. Vitreous hyperreflective foci were found in 35 eyes (43.8%). LogMAR of BCVA was associated significantly with cystoid macular edema (p=0.001), ellipsoid zone(p=0.001), and external limiting membrane (p=0.001).
Conclusions: Detailed SS-OCT assessment in Palestinian patients diagnosed with RP identified different morphologies from other populations. Cystoid macular edema and vitreous hyperreflective foci may reflect signs of early or intermediate stages of the disease. Disease progression can be monitored by measuring the length/width (area) of ellipsoid zone +/- external limiting membrane and choroidal vascular thickness, which should be evaluated serially using high-resolution OCT.